Interviewing Tips… Just in Time for Graduation!
Mar 28, 2012 - 12:22:00 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Summer is coming and school is winding down, but for many upcoming high school and college graduates this is the time of year when panic starts. Why?
“They know that interviews, either for summer jobs, internships, or first-time ventures into the real world of work are just around the corner,” says business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, author of numerous books, including GREET! EAT! TWEET! 52 Business Etiquette Postings To Avoid Pitfalls & Boost Your Career.
According to Pachter, interviewing can be an intimidating experience, even for seasoned professionals. “But the pressure is really on for new grads. Simply telling them to bring extra copies of their resumes and arrive on time just isn’t enough,” she says. “Many new grads have little experience with the interview process.”
Fortunately there are ways to overcome this obstacle. “It’s all in the preparation,” says Pachter, “By following these 10 guidelines, young people can alleviate a lot of the jitters commonly associated with interviewing.”
1. Prepare meaningful discussion points. Know “the stories of your life.” You may not have a lot of business experience to draw upon, but you’ve certainly experienced things in your life, like encountering rude customers while working part time, or working with others as part of a school team or club. Think of positive, specific examples ahead of time that demonstrate your competency, and use them when you answer questions.
2. Practice interviewing with a friend or family member. You will learn where you stumble or whether you use “like” or “um.” Be open to the feedback that you are given. Anticipate the tough questions and know how you will answer them. This also applies to interviewing by Skype. Make sure you know how to use the equipment and choose an appropriate setting with a non-distracting background.
3. Do your research. Visit the company’s website and become a fan on their Facebook page. Talk to people who work there. Your LinkedIn contacts may help you identity people that work or have worked at the company.
4. Buy a business suit. When interviewing for most jobs in corporate America, it’s usually best to wear a suit—even if the company has a business casual dress policy. Sometimes you will be told what to wear and you should follow those guidelines. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed.
5. Adapt to the work environment. Though for some, college is a time to celebrate your uniqueness with pink hair, tattoos, or body piercings, it’s usually best to keep that side of yourself private for the interview. Turn your cell phone off and no gum chewing.
6. Shake hands twice. Believe it or not, one of the simplest things you can do to convey a sense of confidence and professionalism is to shake hands properly at the beginning of the interview and at the end.
7. Be enthusiastic. Many candidates have good job skills, but they seem passive during the interview. You need to be engaging. Don’t slouch, avoid nervous gestures like hair twirling, look the interviewer in the eye, and smile during the interview. Answer the questions clearly and concisely.
8. Have questions to ask. You will usually be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. Prepare a couple of questions ahead of time and ask them. It shows your interest in the position.
9. Send thank-you notes. Write to each of the people who interviewed you. An emailed thank- you note is acceptable in most situations.
10. Learn from each interview. What went right? What can you improve upon? Review the questions you were asked. How did you answer them? How will you answer them in the future?
Barbara Pachter is a speaker, coach and author of numerous business books, including The Power of Positive Confrontation and When the Little Things Count. She specializes in business etiquette and communication for companies worldwide. Her client list features major organizations, including Microsoft, Pfizer, Chrysler, Cisco and Genentech.
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